A Beautiful Book Warmly Inscribed
[Leni Riefenstahl, association]. Friedrich Nietzsche.
Dionysos Dithyramben. [Leipzig: Insel-Verlag, 1914].
One of 150 copies designed by artist Henry van de Velde and printed
by Joh. Enschede. This is copy number 63. Inscribed by Leni
Riefenstahl on the front free endpaper: "Meinem lieben Freund
Julius Streicher / zu Weihnachten 1940. / Leni Riefenstahl".
Large quarto. Approximately 11 x 8.75 inches. Finely bound in the
publisher's full brown levant morocco, boards ruled in gilt, front
board lettered and tooled in gilt, spine with five raised bands.
Title-page heightened in gilt. Some rubbing and moderate wear to
binding, front joint starting at top and bottom, light occasional
thumbsoiling in text. A near fine copy of a beautifully-produced
book. Housed in later custom-built clear plastic box.
by Leni Riefenstahl to a Notorious
Nazi War Criminal
Leni Riefenstahl (1902-2003) was a highly talented dancer, actress and author. But she is perhaps best known as a film director, making some of the most notable (and finest) propaganda films ever made (the most famous being Triumph des Willens from 1935 [Triumph of the Will], and Olympia, 1938). These films (and others) glorified and extolled the Nazis and were used as powerful tools to promote their cause, although Riefenstahl later claimed she didn't make these films for that purpose. After the war, she spent her life writing bestselling books, some illustrated by her excellent photographs, and traveling. She also vehemently denied aiding the Nazis, having any knowledge of the Holocaust, or harboring any political feelings.
Her warm inscription to Julius Streicher (1885-1946), however, seems to cast at least some doubt as to her political naiveté. Streicher was Hitler's good friend and most anti-Semitic associate (later known as "Jew-Baiter Number one"), who ran the propagandist newspaper Der Stürmer, and wrote three anti-Semitic children's books (these children's books are considered by many to be the most far-reaching and effective anti-Semitic propaganda used by the Nazis). He ordered the destruction of the Great Synagogue of Nuremberg during Kristallnacht. Due to his personal excesses and loathsome personality, however, Streicher fell from power in 1940, although he was allowed to continue publishing Der Stürmer. Streicher was tried for crimes against humanity at Nuremberg, was sentenced to death on October 1, 1946, and was hanged fifteen days later.
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